Wearing a “Yankees Suck” t-shirt at Yankee Stadium probably isn’t a good idea. But a wearing a “Yankees Suck” t-shirt at Tropicana Field? While the hometown Rays are playing the Yankees? And worn by a long time season ticket holder? That should be applauded, right?
Wrong says Tropicana Field security. Melton H. Little, who just so happens to have purchased seven season tickets, found out the hard way.
Little’s experience started off as many experiences involving t-shirts that catch the eye of others.
“I was at the game, walked in with my kids and got something to eat,” he said. “I walked down to my seat and five or six people tell me that was a great shirt. One asked me where to buy one. I got to my seat and was surrounded by Yankee fans.”
Those fans are used to the derision placed on the Yankees from fans of other teams. They shrugged off the “Yankees Suck” T-shirt, said Little, who said he has had season tickets since the Rays began play in 1998 and was part of the movement 10 years earlier to bring a Major League Baseball team to the Tampa Bay area. This year, his seven season tickets cost nearly $20,000.
See, typical. Other than dropping nearly $20,000 on Rays tickets, but that’s another conversation. Things get atypical when security decides they want to get involved.
The game got under way, but in the fourth inning a security guard came down the aisle and approached Little.
“The security guard says Major League Baseball has determined that the shirt constitutes profanity,” Little said. “He tells me to get another shirt, cover it up, turn it inside out or leave the stadium.
“I said, ‘That’s unbelievable,’ and he says, ‘I don’t’ make rules, I’m just telling you.’ ”
The lawyer said there was no way he was going to stand up, take the shirt off and turn it inside out in front of all those ready-to-taunt Yankee fans. How embarrassing, he said.
“They would have said something and I’m not a shrinking violet,” he said. “I would have said something back.”
Little and his two sons, 8 and 19, instead accompanied the security guard to the offices to appeal the decision. But he got no relief there. He said a front-office Rays employee just shut the door on him.
As he walked out of the stadium, the Rays rallied to take the lead in a game they eventually won 6-5. That’s when the crowd began to chant, “Yankees suck,” he said. “I wonder if any of them were asked to leave.”
What is the world coming to? A man can’t even proclaim that the Yankees suck anymore. Even after forking over almost $20,000.